After five years of political stalemate, presidential and legislative elections took place in Madagascar at the end of 2013. Mr. Hery Rajaonarimampianina was elected president and took office on January 25, 2014. The current Prime Minister, General Jean Ravelonarivo, was appointed in January 2015.
Municipal elections aimed at picking mayors and municipal councilmen/women for 1,693 municipalities took place on July 31, 2015. The participation rate, around 30% at the national level, was one of the lowest ever seen in Madagascar. The president’s party, New Forces for Madagascar (HVM), won mayoral seats in 62% of the municipalities. Two other large parties (the MAPAR, chaired by former President of the Transition Rajoelina, and the TIM, led by former President Marc Ravalomanana) won in several of the main cities. Senatorial elections took place on December 29, 2015. With the creation of the Senate, all democratic institutions mentioned in the Constitution will now be established. The National Assembly and the Senate form the Parliament. In case of need (resignation, impeachment, death of the President of the Republic), the President of the Senate would handle the interim.
Tensions that had run high between the Executive and the National Assembly in the past semester seem to have abated. The last parliamentarian session ended in December 2015 on several votes: the 2016 Budget Law, the new tribunal on trafficking of precious woods, and the law on public private partnerships (PPPs).
The government has made the “fight against poverty through inclusive growth” its main objective and has developed a strategy centered on three pillars: improving governance, promoting economic recovery, and expanding access to basic social services. This strategy has been outlined in the Programme Général de l’Etat (PGE) and translated into a 2015-2019 National Development Program (Programme national de développement or PND) with an implementation plan.
The latest World Bank economic update reveals a slow economic recovery in 2015 due to the weak growth in tourism and mining sectors. Catastrophic meteorological conditions during the first half of 2015 also took a toll on the economy, resulting in higher inflation and a reduction of household purchasing power. Gross domestic product (GDP) growth is estimated at 3.0% in 2015 and annual inflation rose to 7.6%.
Cheaper prices of petroleum products helped the government to reduce the burden of pump price subsidies in public expenditure and to lessen the trade deficit. Fuel subsidies decreased from 8.3% of total outlays in 2014 to 1.9% in 2015. Moreover, the gap between the pump price and reference price was eliminated since October 2015, and in March 2016 the government introduced formally a monthly automatic adjustment mechanism for pump prices to international prices and exchange rate fluctuations. Lower international petroleum prices also resulted in lower tax revenues on petroleum products. Tax revenues stood at 10% of GDP in 2015, keeping the country’s performance below those of comparable countries.
The country continues to rank poorly on the ease of doing business index: 164 out of 189 countries in the 2016 Doing Business report. The government has set a goal to improve its performance and has identified a series of improvements to be adopted over the next 18 months.
Madagascar ranked 154th out of 188 countries in the United Nations 2015 Human Development Report and the country did not reach any of the United Nations Millennium Development Goals (MDG) by 2015.
Madagascar is also highly vulnerable to natural disasters—including cyclones, droughts and flooding. It is estimated that one quarter of the population, or approximately five million people, currently live in zones at high risk of natural disasters.
Last Updated: Apr 11, 2016